In my first post on working with back pain, I talked about ways to help assess the employee’s situation and better understand his or her limitations. But once you have a grasp on how the back pain affects the employee’s ability to do work, how do you make accommodations to the employee’s work environment or job duties? There are no “one-size-fits-all” answers, but asking questions and regularly following up with the employee can lead to a more successful job accommodation.
You could say there’s a lot more to Todd Meier than his day job.
As a Vocational Case Manager with The Standard, he helps employers by designing, implementing and managing on-site vocational services to assist employees in remaining at and/or returning to work, and providing ergonomic training. He also plays a lead role by coordinating and providing ergonomic assessments and accommodations for internal employees. He holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and education, is a certified rehabilitation counselor and disability management specialist, and has completed coursework in ergonomics. His background truly helps guide his work, as he has experience working with disabled veterans and injured workers, as well as vast knowledge in ergonomics, counseling and aptitude testing.
Outside of work, Todd gets in touch with his creative side. He plays a variety of instruments from the basics, such as piano and saxophone, to the more obscure didgeridoo and berimbau (we had to look those up, too). He even dabbles in interpretive dance and slapstick comedy. You might also find him backpacking or kayaking.
Posts by Todd Meier
What do you do when an employee comes to you requesting accommodations because of back pain? Then, what do you do if the employee’s doctor does not give you the information you need to identify suitable, job-relevant accommodations? What are some common effective accommodations? These are some of the questions I hear regularly when working with employees and employers to accommodate back pain. In this post, I will explore ways to address these questions and begin to consider accommodations for employees.
Identifying the right solution to accommodate a work restriction is not always obvious. Following a consistent analytical process can ensure key details are not missed, helping to avoid potential issues such as employee and employer frustration or a potential impact on employee safety. Putting the right process in place can be crucial to a successful, organized return to work plan and can help to address costs, time and confusion.
For an employee faced with a surgery, the last thing he or she often thinks of is how the recovery period will impact his or her work life. For example, if a long-term recovery period is expected, returning to work quickly isn’t necessarily an obvious option, even though the employee may be eager to return to his or her daily routine. However, with some cases, the right workplace accommodations can make going back to work — even sooner than expected — very possible.
It’s hard to believe something as innocent as scented perfume could cause a person to have health issues, but fragrance sensitivity — an allergic reaction or irritation to chemicals in certain products — is very real and, depending on the severity, can become problematic in the workplace. In many of my stay-at-work and return-to-work cases, individuals have aversions to chemicals, fumes and other scents floating around in the work environment. Irritation with perfume and similar fragrances are the most prevalent. So, what’s a manager to do if this situation arises?
Where is your monitor located? Next to a window? Under a bright light?
Did you know bright fluorescent lighting can cause eyestrain, particularly if it creates a glare on your computer monitor? Conversely, having too little light also can result in eyestrain when working with paper documents.
Finding the right balance of light is an important part of an effective workstation. Unfortunately it’s a topic that is not often discussed because employers struggle with where to start. The following questions should give you some direction.